Microsoft Patents 'IsNot'

Carlos Ribeiro carribeiro at
Mon Nov 22 11:31:17 CET 2004

On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 11:22:20 +0100, Fredrik Lundh
<fredrik at> wrote:
> Skip Montanaro wrote:
> >    >> My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs.  Claim
> >    >> 2 clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
> >
> >    Neal> Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever
> >    Neal> invented) display prior art here?
> >
> > Sure, but maybe there is no such prior art in the BASIC arena.
> IIRC, the "inventor" mentioned on his weblog that he didn't come up with the idea
> himself; it was suggested by customers.  In other words, the solution clearly wasn't
> obvious to the "inventor" himself, since he didn't invent it.  And if it's not obvious,
> it can be patented, right?  As chewbacca would say, if it doesn't make sense, you
> must patent!
Patenting something that was suggested by customers is asking for
trouble. What if the customer who suggested the feature sues
Microsoft? Or worse -- if it turns out that the suggestion came after
seeing 'prior art' elsewhere? (Of course, the patent itself doesn't
cover the idea, but also the implementation, which is why Microsoft
could get away with it. But it does not invalidate the above points,
because the customer could possibly have suggested enough of the
implementation to Microsoft).

(btw, do I automatically assign to Microsoft the property of any idea
that I eventually communicate to them? I'm curious).

> I need coffee.

Me too (but not of the java variety, please) :-)

Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
mail: carribeiro at
mail: carribeiro at

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